| ADDIS ABABA
ADDIS ABABA Dec 16 Ethiopia inaugurated on
Friday a 1.5-billion-euro ($1.57 billion) hydropower plant along
the Omo River in the country's south that will nearly double
total electricity output to 4,238 megawatts (MW).
With a capacity of 1,870 MW, Gilgel Gibe 3 - built by
Italian construction firm Salini Impregilo SpA - is expected to
boost the Horn of Africa country's nascent manufacturing sector
as well as electricity exports to neighbouring nations.
Work on the plant began in 2006 but its completion was
delayed partly due to funding constraints. In the end, China's
Export-Import Bank stepped in to fund 60 percent of costs via a
loan while the government covered the remaining amount.
Under a 2015-2020 development plan, Addis Ababa wants to
raise output to 17,346 MW by harnessing hydropower, wind and
It has an array of projects under construction, including
the $4.1 billion Grand Renaissance Dam that will churn out 6,000
MW upon completion.
In March Addis Ababa also announced plans to build a new
2,000 MW hydropower dam also on the Omo river.
Ethiopia is bidding to become a continental manufacturing
hub, and hopes the projects will resolve power outages that have
been hampering economic activity in the nation of some 90
The country already exports electricity to neighbouring
Kenya, Sudan and Djibouti, and has signed agreements with
Tanzania, Rwanda and South Sudan, as well as Yemen.
($1 = 0.9562 euros)
(Reporting by Aaron Maasho; Editing by Elias Biryabarema/Mark